Cowper, Frances Maria, née Madan, wife of Major Cowper, sister of Martin Madan, and cousin of Cowper the Poet, was born in 1727, and died in 1797. Her poetical pieces were published as Original Poems on Various Occasions. By a Lady. Revised by William Cowper, Esq., of the Inner Temple, 1792. From this work her hymn, "My span of life will soon be done" (Death Anticipated) is taken. The cento "Bear on, my soul; the bitter cross," is a part of this hymn.
--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology, Appendix, Part II (1907)
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MARTYRDOM was originally an eighteenth-century Scottish folk melody used for the ballad "Helen of Kirkconnel." Hugh Wilson (b. Fenwick, Ayrshire, Scotland, c. 1766; d. Duntocher, Scotland, 1824) adapted MARTYRDOM into a hymn tune in duple meter around 1800. A triple-meter version of the tune was fir…